GAMSAT Section 1 is an exam which tests your critical reasoning skills as well as your ability to draw conclusions on a variety of texts such as creative fiction, poetry, cartoons, non-fiction and literature. From 2022 onwards, there are 62 MCQs with 92 mins writing time and 8 minutes reading time. This means that you should take around 1.5 minutes each Question.
Critical reasoning skills and speed reading is important so I have compiled a list of resources that you can use to expand the breadth of texts you are exposed to. Some of these may be difficult so take your time in breaking down the main idea of each paragraph. Hopefully, with enough practice you will be able to build up your vocabulary, as well as speed and accuracy in comprehension.
I’ll continue to update this list as I come across more texts. I want this to be a useful resource for all of you! 🙂
Whilst analysing these cartoons, read this study guide (in progress) consider:
- What is the tone/attitude of the speaker? Who is speaking?
- What is the irony? Why is this cartoon humorous?
- What is the main idea? What is the main message being conveyed?
1. Youtube video by Bob Mankoff – Anatomy of a New York cartoon
2. New Yorker Cartoons – analyse at least 1 cartoon everyday and work through the study guide here. Create a ‘cartoon bank’ where you work through the techniques and idea conveyed and talk this through with a friend.
3. New Yorker Cartoon lounge – discussion of latest cartoons and the ideas that went behind creating them. https://www.newyorker.com/video/series/the-cartoon-lounge
It is important to take a structured approach to analysing poems. I will be updating my blog with a study guide later but consider:
- Who is speaking? Is it the poet or the character?
- What is the tone or atmosphere of the poem?
- What is the main idea?
1. Sparknotes to explore the commentary/ideas, symbols and motifs of poems such as :
- The road not taken by Robert Frost
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
- Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- Blossoms by Li-Young Lee
- Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
- Dreams by Langston Hughes
- Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
- Death be not proud/ The Sun Rising by John Donne
- Bright Star by John Keats
2. How to analyse poetry blogpost and guide – written by me
3. Owlcation – type in a poem you’d like to analyse in the search bar and it will explain the meaning behind each stanza and verse, e.g. click below for Bright Star by John Keats – https://owlcation.com/humanities/Analysis-of-Poem-Bright-Star-by-John-keats
Contact me here if you would like a more detailed analysis of each.
Some of these texts are difficult and long – 2,3,4 only advisable for the more advanced readers or those that want a challenge. I sometimes read these for fun! Try to break each paragraph down to the main premise (e.g. freedom is paradoxical) and paraphrase these in your own words.
1. Khan Academy CARS (Critical analysis and reasoning skills practice questions) (FREE MCQs) – https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/critical-analysis-and-reasoning-skills-practice-questions
2. Khan Academy SAT (FREE Worked examples) – https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat/sat-reading-writing-practice
Both videos above are tutorials for literature, history and social science passages that are in-depth. They talk through how to analyse and break down a passage to get to the correct answer.
3. Sociology – Giddens, Bordieu, Arendt
- Giddens on explaining crime and deviance – https://kearneysociology.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/giddens-deviance.pdf
- A critique of Bordieu’s main theories and his contributions to literary theory – https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.12657/30307/646716.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
- The human condition by Hannah Arendt. She identifies problems we face today, e.g. diminishing human agency and political freedom and the paradox that we are less equipped to control the consequences of our actions with greater technological advancements. – https://monoskop.org/images/e/e2/Arendt_Hannah_The_Human_Condition_2nd_1998.pdf
4. Anthropology – Claude Lévi-Strauss
- Levi-Strauss Exegesis – http://public.gettysburg.edu/~dperry/Class%20Readings%20Scanned%20Documents/Theory%20Scans/Exegeses/Levi-Strauss%20exegesis.pdf
5. Politics – Slavoj Zizek ‘Liberalism and its discontents’ & John-Stuart Mill ‘On liberty’
- https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/mill/liberty.pdf – This is a link to the 109 pg pdf of John Mill’s ‘On liberty’. Read sections of the text and attempt to simplify it in your own words.
- https://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com/2018/11/mills-argument-for-free-speech-guide.html – Analysis on John Mill’s argument ‘On liberty’ –
1. Khan Academy Critical analysis and reasoning skills practice questions (FREE) – https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/critical-analysis-and-reasoning-skills-practice-questions
Still looking out for more here! Contact me if you have additions to make to this list!
S1 Vocabulary List
To improve your vocabulary in S1, pick out words from the passages you read and write the definition of them in a book. Revise this just before you go to sleep or aim to include 1 or 2 new words when writing your essay!
Here are links for some vocabulary lists: